By Jonathan Parker

I first became interested in Buddhism when I was around fifteen. After reading various books on different Buddhist traditions, I was naturally attracted to Tibetan Buddhism with its clear explanation of the path to enlightenment and practical guide to overcoming negativity and delusions. Around that time, I discovered the Tibetan Buddhist Society and soon began attending teachings and retreats regularly. 

Jonathan leading a guided meditation at the recent New Year Meditation Festival in February 2023

After meeting and receiving teachings from Geshe Acharya Thubten Loden, I decided over time that I would like him to be my guru. Over the following years, I began to see more and more clearly the potential for enlightenment reflected in Geshe-la’s thoughts, speech and actions. 

Without doubt this experience imprinted on me an undeniable motivation to repay Geshe-la’s kindness. 

Volunteering is one of the ways I try to repay a tiny part of his kindness and help to protect the precious teachings that Geshe-la has given us and which continue to bring benefit to so many people. 

The Dharma explains that everything, including the Tibetan Buddhist Society, is a dependent arising. The TBS depends on Geshe-la, his books, the precious temple and buildings, and of course the community of volunteers and helpers, and countless other causes and conditions including all the lineage gurus all the way back to Shakyamuni Buddha without whom there would be no Buddhist teachings at all. 

So, although there is always a lot of work to do in looking after the Tibetan Buddhist Society, I am happy and inspired to see the many wonderful volunteers helping in so many areas every day with what seems like endless, joyous effort.  

I am very grateful for the hard work everyone contributes, and I will continue helping in whatever way I can to support the future success of the Tibetan Buddhist Society in its activities to benefit all living beings. 

To quote our chef, affectionately known as Sox: “We love to help” 

Editors’ note: Jono is a significant contributor in a number of TBS teams including retreats, festivals, technology and children’s meditation. He also recently led a guided meditation at the New Year Meditation Festival.